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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
A suspicious-materials robot, nicknamed “Bob,” carries a box from the law office of Haller & Colvin on Thursday. The box was opened to reveal a turnip.

Bomb scare turns out to be turnip gift

Well that's one turnip that won't be causing any more grief.

A box containing a raw turnip held the city's bomb unit at bay for several hours after it was delivered to a downtown law office Thursday afternoon.

Police were called to the offices of Haller & Colvin Attorneys at Law, 444 E. Main St., about 3:45 p.m. when a suspicious package was found by employees.

The law firm's employees opened a regular U.S. Postal service box, slightly smaller than a basketball, and became concerned about a bluish gift bag inside, police spokesman Michael Joyner said.

The employees called 911 and carried the box to the building's lobby area, Joyner said.

When officers arrived, Joyner said, they determined the box was indeed suspicious, and supervisors decided to call in the city's bomb unit.

Bomb technicians used a robot, fondly known as “Bob” among the officers, to carry the package from the lobby outside to a parking lot.

Curious onlookers, and some people who just wanted to get to their cars and go home, were kept back from the area. Traffic in front of the building and on Clay Street, which was about 100 feet from the scene, was allowed to continue.

While “Bob” examined the package, an X-ray machine was carried to the robot by a bomb technician clad in a protective suit, and X-rays were taken in an effort to determine the package's contents.

After looking at the X-rays, Joyner said, the bomb technicians were certain the package did not contain an explosive device. But the technicians opted to err on the side of caution and decided to try to detonate the package with a water cannon, Joyner said.

When they were sure the package was not going to explode, a technician approached the box and opened it to find the gift bag. Inside was the turnip, wrapped in a sandwich bag, surrounded by lettuce-green tissue paper.

Fort Wayne Community Schools board President Mark GiaQuinta was the intended recipient, but the delivery was connected to his law practice, not the district.

After a few laughs over the box's contents, police determined the area to be safe by 6 p.m.

aslutsky@jg.net

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